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Préludes CV - Lera Auerbach, Guest in Hamburg

On 22 June 2003, the Hamburg Ballet Days will commence with a ballet premiere of John Neumeier, to which music by the composer Lera Auerbach, born in Russia and now living in the United States, will be played exclusively. Although her 24 Préludes for Violin and Piano were already composed in 1999, the dedicatees have postponed the premiere especially for the Hamburg Ballet Director's new production. Moreover, Auerbach wrote the 24 Préludes for Violoncello and Piano especially for John Neumeier, and this work will also receive its premiere on this occasion. The instrumental soloists are Lera Auerbach herself (piano) as well as Vadim Gluzman (violin), Ani Aznavoorian (violoncello) and Angela Yoffe (piano).

In its current Journal (2/2003), the Hamburg State Opera has written the following concerning this event:

"Inspired by Vadim Gluzman's work with the Hamburg Ballet - he performed the violin solo in 'Bernstein Dances' at the State Opera and in New York - John Neumeier asked Gluzman to perform the '24 Préludes for Violin and Piano' with Angela Yoffe. The composer and pianist Lera Auerbach hails from Russia and has lived in the USA since the early 1990s. She composed the work for these two musicians.

"The composition's clearly structured lines and Lera Auerbach's musicianship pleased John Neumeier so much that he decided to use the music cycle for a new ballet. Vadim Gluzman decided not to give the premiere of the 'Préludes' in concert, but only together with the ballet.

Lera Auerbach arranged her 'Préludes' according to the model of Chopin, as a key-cycle in the circle of fifths alternating major and minor keys. In 1999 Lera Auerbach also composed '24 Préludes for Violoncello and Piano.' John Neumeier begins his choreography with this piece, which comes across much more directly and at times harsher, musically speaking, than its equivalent for violin.

"In working on his 125th choreography, John Neumeier was stimulated by the confrontation with unperformed music by a (still!) almost unknown composer. Yet the Horowitz biographer David Dubal has already called Lera Auerbach a 'universal artist, someone who is needed more than ever in a society that is increasingly sceptical towards those who recognise an expression in all things.'

"Musically speaking, preludes have been considered 'character pieces' since the 19th century, i.e. works with which the composer realises a specific idea. John Neumeier's choreographies could be regarded in exactly the same way. They leave the observer much space for his own associations, feelings, and ideas, thus coming together to form a kind of chain of completely personal life-fragments."